New York • The New York Rangers know they will have the raucous Madison Square Garden crowd on their side in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.
The whistle and the bounces? That is a whole other story.
Stanley Cup finals
Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers
Kings lead series 2-1
Game 1 » Kings 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
Game 2 » Los Angeles 5, New York 4 (2OT)
Monday » at New York,6 p.m., NBCSN
Wednesday » at New York, 6 p.m., NBCSN
x-Friday » at Los Angeles, 6 p.m., Ch. 5
x-Monday, June 16 » at New York, 6 p.m., Ch. 5
x-Wednesday, June 18 » at Los Angeles, 6 p.m., Ch. 5
x — if necessary
When the Rangers analyze their two overtime losses to the Kings in Los Angeles, they likely will be happy about much of them — other than the result, of course. New York hasn’t trailed for one second in the nine regulation periods played in the championship round, yet the Rangers return home in an 0-2 hole.
They led by two early in their 3-2 single overtime loss in Game 1 and then had three two-goal edges in Game 2, only to fall 5-4 in double overtime Saturday night.
The starts were good, the middles provided success, too. The third periods and overtimes have been the difference, and that is what matters. New York was outshot 20-3 in the third period of Game 1 and outscored 2-0 in the final regulation frame of Game 2.
Both teams spent Sunday flying to New York before Game 3 on Monday night.
"The series isn’t over yet," said Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who had a goal and assist in the first period and logged a team-high 37:48 of ice time in Game 2. "They’ve got a 2-0 lead, but we’re going home. We’re excited. We’ve got to use our crowd."
The resilient Kings are doing to the Rangers what they did to the Sharks, Ducks and defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks before them. If New York wants to avoid the head-shaking those clubs endured after being eliminated in seven games, the story line must change quickly Monday.
It will be one of the hottest tickets at the Garden in years, but the Rangers’ first trip to the finals in two decades could be over in a hurry if their finishes don’t soon match their beginnings.
"A couple crazy bounces, a couple crazy plays," Rangers forward Chris Kreider said. "Stuff goes in for them, stuff doesn’t go in for us. It’s hockey. It’s not always fair."
They have jumped to 2-0 leads in the first period in each game, but Los Angeles never gives up or gives in. New York was 10-0 in these playoffs when entering the third with a lead. The Kings changed that Saturday when they turned a 4-2 deficit into a tie and then won it in double overtime.
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